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Crazy in the Kitchen: Food, Feuds, and Forgiveness in an Italian American Family Hardcover – Bargain Price, January 1, 2004
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About the Author
Louise DeSalvo is a writer, professor, lecturer, and scholar who lives in New Jersey. Her many books include the memoirs Vertigo, Breathless, and Adultery; the acclaimed biography Virginia Woolf: The Impact of Childhood Sexual Abuse on her Life and Work; and Writing as a Way of Healing. She also edited Woolf's early novel Melymbrosia and coedited The Milk of Almonds: Italian American Women Writers on Food and Culture.--This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.
Top Customer Reviews
When Desalvo says "Crazy in the Kitchen", she is not kidding. Her mother and much of her family really does have seriously crazy tendencies---fury, cruelty, irrational financial habits, long running feuds, etc. And the kitchen is where many of these things are played out---from her mother's poor cooking to her step-grandmother's good but steep in unbreakable traditions cooking, to the cooking and eating of her ancestors in Southern Italy, or the NOT eating---for I finally understood what drove so many Italians to come to America. I had no idea how awful conditions were for the peasants of Italy. What they were subjected to honestly reminded me of accounts of places like Cambodia or China, during the Great Leap Forward.
I learned a great deal about Southern Italian culture from this book, and found myself reading many passages to my husband, a first generation Italian-American who spent much of his youth in Sicily visiting, and who had parents who spoke only Italian, and even he was stunned to find out much of what I read. I now understand my late in-laws much better than I did before this reading.
The writing style of this book took a bit to get used to, until I let myself fall into it. It's written like so many stories told by my in-laws---in a bit of a circular way---you find out a bit here, and a bit there, and it all adds up in the end.
I want to thank Ms. Desalvo for this book. I look forward eagerly to reading the rest of her works.
My maternal grandparents were Italian immigrants to California; my mother and her sisters born in the U.S. DeSalvo's exploration of the Italian culture both here in the States and in the Old County gave me a handhold among my mother's family as no other source has.
You'll either hate this book immediately, like tripe, or inhale it like the best cannoli.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Couldn't put this book down. Had to get through it as quick as I could. Glad I did - it was like visiting with family.Published 17 months ago by gratefulgranny
She's a wonderful writer, adding humor to the most poignant moments!Published 21 months ago by GLORIA M FRANCO
I usually do not put aside a book before finishing it. In this case, I got about a third of the way through and just skimmed the rest and could not bring myself to read it in... Read morePublished on July 19, 2006 by GoStanford